Now that Elon Musk has formally changed Twitter’s brand with an X, many people are questioning: can he truly use it?
The drastic rebranding doesn’t come as a lot of a shock to Musk-watchers. Musk has lengthy touted his thought of X as an “all the things” app that provides audio, video, messaging, and help for digital funds. He has additionally based an organization referred to as X.com earlier than it merged with PayPal within the yr 2000. Whereas that identify by no means resurfaced, that didn’t cease Musk from incorporating the letter X into all his different manufacturers, together with SpaceX, xAI, X Corp., and now Twitter.
On Sunday, Musk declared that Twitter will probably be rebranded as X and turned to the location’s group to fee a brand new brand. “If a adequate X brand is posted tonight, we’ll make [it] go reside worldwide tomorrow,” Musk wrote. That night time, Twitter consumer Sawyer Merritt provided up an X brand he not wanted, which Musk scooped proper up. However whereas its design appears considerably distinctive at first look, the notion of 1 chunky, angular line crossing over a skinny one wasn’t created from scratch.
Merritt says the designer he labored with was merely “impressed by a font he discovered on-line,” however that designer appears to contradict that with a submit of his personal, stating he based mostly it on a Unicode character. And that designer’s assertion doesn’t essentially clear issues up, both: whereas Twitter’s new brand does seem like it might have been impressed by a Unicode character, it appears to be like nearly precisely like one from Monotype. Both approach, on-line sleuths have traced the design again to each potential sources.
Monotype is the typeface firm that has created a number of the world’s most recognizable fonts, together with Instances New Roman and Arial. When you have a look at the letter “X” in Monotype’s Particular Alphabets 4, you’ll discover that it intently resembles Twitter’s new brand design. (Twitter’s first stab on the X appears to be like just like the lowercase X, whereas a thicker one which Musk briefly tried appears to be like just like the capital X from Monotype.)
Right here’s what the “X” glyph appears to be like like within the upper-case and lower-case variations of Particular Alphabets 4. Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge
Whereas Ars Technica acquired affirmation from Monotype that the brand isn’t the identical because the capital X in Particular Alphabets 4, it nonetheless hasn’t heard again in regards to the lowercase X, which the brand appears to be like much more like. “We will verify that while it’s comparable, this isn’t the capital X glyph from Monotype’s ‘Particular Alphabets 4,” Monotype spokesperson Phil Garnham tells Ars Technica.
We reached out to Monotype to see if it might verify whether or not the brand matches the lowercase character and didn’t instantly hear again. If Twitter’s brand does, certainly, match up with Monotype’s font, it might have to buy a license in an effort to use it.
The Unicode character mathematical double-struck capital X (U+1D54F). Screenshot: Emma Roth / The Verge
Nevertheless, a considerably comparable character can also be current in Unicode’s database, beneath the identify mathematical double-struck capital X (U+1D54F). This character is supposed to be used in mathematical equations and first appeared in Unicode model 3.1 in 2001. It doesn’t seem like Musk would face any authorized hurdles by utilizing a logo from Unicode. Characters submitted to Unicode Commonplace are “launched beneath the Unicode License, a free and open-source license that permits anybody to make use of the supplies with out restriction,” Unicode Consortium spokesperson Katherine Clark tells The Verge. That features use in a trademark or firm brand.
Even when the brand doesn’t violate any font licenses, which dictate whether or not somebody has to pay to make use of a font, having a brand consultant of a letter of the alphabet may make an X trademark tougher to guard. And in the event you’re questioning — sure, you possibly can register a single letter of the alphabet as a trademark (although just for a particular class of products and providers). On this 2015 report from Quick Firm, Chris Chafin wrote that “single letters are among the many hottest emblems registered in the US,” with every letter of the alphabet having a whole bunch of emblems related to them.
“A trademark doesn’t have to be notably distinctive to be protectable”
As outlined by the US Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO), a trademark is a phrase, phrase, image, design, or a mixture of all these components that you should use to signify an organization. Emblems exist so customers can distinguish items and providers offered by one supply from these offered by one other. Being extra distinctive than a single letter of the alphabet makes that simpler, but it surely’s not mandatory.
“A trademark doesn’t have to be notably distinctive to be protectable, so long as the proprietor can present that folks affiliate the mark with the model,” Alexandra Roberts, a professor of legislation and media at Northeastern College, tells The Verge. “There are literally thousands of single-letter trademark registrations; many, however not all, of them are extra elaborately stylized than the one which now seems on the location previously generally known as Twitter. Given the big consumer base on Twitter and the variety of individuals following and reporting on this rebrand, I count on it wouldn’t take very lengthy to determine that the brand new ‘X’ features as a trademark and customers affiliate it with Twitter’s providers or model.”
If Twitter does absolutely rebrand itself as X, that also received’t stop different firms from utilizing X branding. In any case, the much less exceptional a trademark is, the tougher it’s to forestall others from utilizing it. Each Meta and Microsoft every have already got their very own emblems on logos that seem like an X. In Microsoft’s case, it registered for a trademark on an “X” brand for its line of Xbox merchandise again in 2003, with the mark’s function listed as “offering on-line chat rooms for transmission of messages amongst laptop customers regarding video and laptop video games.”
As for why Meta additionally has a registered trademark on an X brand, it’s as a result of the corporate acquired Microsoft’s now-defunct Mixer streaming software in 2020. The submitting describes the trademark as a “stylized letter ‘X’” with white on its left facet and blue on its proper facet. Its function is equally targeted on gaming.
That distinction is essential. Since Twitter’s X brand received’t be used for gaming — a minimum of not that we all know of but — Meta and Microsoft shouldn’t have any points with it. That’s as a result of firms can have comparable marks so long as they don’t cross into every others’ industries and confuse customers.
“In a crowded area with a lot of ‘X’ emblems, it is going to be troublesome to implement in opposition to others”
However that might change. Musk is a identified gamer and was busy enjoying Diablo IV whereas he advised followers about his plans to chop Twitter’s brand from the facet of the corporate’s headquarters. Given Musk’s impulsive determination to buy Twitter, it wouldn’t be all that stunning if Musk determined to get into gaming on a whim. There’s additionally Musk’s thought of X as an “all the things” app. This might deliver the app outdoors the realm of social media and into others like cost techniques and banking, which might get in the way in which of different X-branded providers within the monetary area, like the net buying and selling app Xtrade and even XInsurance.
“In a crowded area with a lot of ‘X’ emblems, it is going to be troublesome to implement in opposition to others,” Roberts tells The Verge. “The argument that can allow Twitter/Musk to get safety for the mark would be the identical argument that impedes aggressive enforcement.”
Whereas Musk says the present X design is only a placeholder, that also hasn’t stopped him from plastering the brand throughout Twitter’s desktop web site and even on its headquarters. Twitter’s rebrand goes full steam forward whatever the price, and there aren’t many authorized hurdles standing in the way in which — X is right here, whether or not we prefer it or not.$100 free cash app money $100 free cash app money